For the first few years after Christina passed I thought for sure I was going crazy. I remember wondering do people who actual go insane feel they are going insane before they end up insane? If you have ever reached this kind of low then you understand… if not then I pray you never do.
A few months after Christina died I was living back in New York. I wasn’t stable and only God knows how I made it. Each day, was putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes, putting one foot in front of the other didn’t work- those are the days I would fall apart and try again the next day.
Once during a falling apart day, I drove for about 15 hours. I don’t know where I ended up to this day. I eventually stopped at a hotel and checked into a room. I cried myself to sleep. I was alone but realized I felt alone no matter where I was, even if I was surrounded by a room full of people. I was alone because no one could understand— they had moved on and were OK. I wasn’t and felt I didn’t belong with this group of OK people. Being physically alone in my hotel room was always a bit of a relief because I didn’t have to pretend to belong.
You learn with grief, there’s only so much others can take of someone else’s grief before they are fed up. It was only a few months, but I was well over my max. My friends would of never told me they were fed up…but I knew.
Months of this state became years. About two years after Christina’s death, I moved to Maryland and married my first husband, a man I knew I should NOT marry – but I did anyway. This wasn’t an after thought, it was conscious as I said our wedding vows and “I do” I thought, I shouldn’t.
I told my friends about my secret marriage a few months later. My parents didn’t know for about a year. It was easy to keep it a secret because I had shut almost everyone out.
Being stable and smart were non-existent qualities at this time.
After I married, nightmares often consumed me, usually of Christina but sometimes of me – they all seemed so real and detailed. It would leave a horrible feeling in my heart and stomach. I feared my life. I feared for others lives. I feared sleep. I feared being awake. I feared myself. I feared fear. I was consumed by fear.
One night, when I didn’t think my mind could handle another night of sleep, I ran out of my apartment in downtown Baltimore and called Jay from my car. I sat in my locked car with a knife (in case I was attacked) and my cellphone. It was mid-winter and the car was ice cold but I didn’t turn the car on out of fear someone would see me sitting in it and attack. So I sat in my ice cold car, seeing my breath as I told Jay about my nightmares and current state of mind. He was the one friend I felt I could tell about ongoing grief, despite knowing he may be fed up…maybe because he was there through it all too. He was silent after I told him my nightmares and my fears. He then said very seriously, “Priscilla, pray to God and ask him protect your mind. Claim you are a child of God.”
After our conversation, my fear intensified mostly because Jay sounded terrified for me- perhaps he thought I was really going crazy as well? Perhaps I was.
So I prayed, I prayed hard that night next to my bed, “God, please keep my mind together because I can’t. Protect my mind, please protect my mind. I’m a child of God. Oh God, please protect my mind.” I would say it over and over, again and again until the images of my dying sister and nightmares would disappear.
And He did – God protected my mind and the nightmares went away. The nightmares never came back but images of Christina dying still come to this day. When they do I pray the same prayer again and He takes them away. I truly believe if I didn’t pray that prayer that night my mind couldn’t of taken much more, I would of ended up in a mental hospital.
I needed rescued and God rescued me.
On September 29th, they charged and arrested Andy for Christina’s murder. There should of also been a charge for a mother’s broken heart, a sister’s damaged mind, a father’s crushed spirit, or for Christina’s son’s stolen future and so much more…
In my therapy sessions, I had to tell my story from the beginning and this is as far as I got. The third day, also the last day of therapy, we talked about the arrest and my mom coming back from the coroner. I cried deeply when I told the therapist about my mom. She asked me if I felt guilt (again she asked, as she asked this in our first session). Rather than answering immediately, as I did in session one, I thought about my mom crying after identifying my sister’s body…
“Prissy? Your sister, she’s gone.” Her words broke me—broke all of us.
But there was something more in her words, something else and I could see in her eyes. My mom’s eyes said….
“Prissy, fix this”
“Prissy, help me”
“Prissy, bring her back”
“Prissy, why weren’t you here?”
“Prissy, weren’t you supposed to be watching your sister?”
And I couldn’t do any of those things, it was too late. Yes, three day therapist, if you must keep asking me- I felt guilt.
I should of stopped it.
I should of known.
It is almost impossible to fight these thoughts, she was my little sister and I was supposed to be her keeper. I came home after my third therapy session and prayed, laying my guilt down at the feet of Jesus. Please God, please, take this from me.
To the reader: Unlike the above journal entry written a few years ago, this excerpt is written in real time. When I prayed that day in my soul, I felt God’s peace: Priscilla, I am here- you are strong, you are loved, you are mine, give me your failures —believe.
It was and is still hard to accept those words. I would encourage you to listen to the song “You Say” below. I listen to this song when I need to be reminded it only matters I am His and to believe ONLY what my He thinks of me not the voices in my head saying I’m not enough.